Passport: BB King - 'I see countries the way I see vegetables. I couldn't say which one I like best'

BB King's travel arrangements have come a long way since 1947 when, with just $2.50 in his pocket, he hitched a lift to Memphis, Tennessee, to pursue his career in music. Now, the King of Blues notches up 50 stamps in his passport a year in concerts alone.

"The UK is always fun - I love the UK," says BB King. "Everybody is so knowledgeable about music, and they seem to know so much about me. "And you got a lot of good musicians, too: Eric Clapton, the Beatles, the Stones - you got some of the best musicians in the world."

And could he make his home in our green and pleasant land with best friend and trusty guitar, Lucille?

"Oh, I'd love to, you know, but I couldn't afford it. The rent I pay on my house in America is more than enough. But if I had the chance, I'd make England my second home - either London or Sydney, two great cities."

And, after 50 long and celebrated years as a blues musician touring the world, does the novelty of travel ever wane?

"No way. I have a good time touring. The only time I have a problem, is like right now - I've just been to visit the dentist and my mouth is killing me."

And who would win first prize in his favourite country draw?

"I see countries rather like I see vegetables," says the King. "For example, I'm vegetarian - I love beans, corn, all different types of vegetable, but I couldn't say which one I like over the other. And that's what countries are like for me - it's just impossible to say which I prefer."

But there must have been one country that was more droopy lettuce than plump tomato?

"In 1979, I went to the former Soviet Union. I didn't know anything about it at the time. It was winter, and the coldest place I'd ever been to in my life," he recalls.

And which variety of greens has the Blues King yet to taste? "I've never been to India. And I'd like to visit Egypt, even with all the troubles that are going on. I just want to see those pyramids."

BB King will be appearing on BBC2's "Hootnanny" at midnight on New Year's Eve.

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